Known as the King of Ngoni in modern-day Africa, Bassekou Kouyate is a highly influential and renowned Malian master musician. Born in Garana, a small village in the Segou region of Mali, Bassekou was born into this ancient musical tradition. Taught by his father, an Ngoni master and griot, he began honing his skills on this magical string instrument at age 4. Teaching him how to craft, tune and play his instrument, his father further encouraged him to take his passion to a higher level resulting in international recognition.
Kouyate quickly rose to fame in Mali, and in 2002, he formed the band Ngoni Ba. The group has since released five albums, and their sound, which combines traditional Malian music with elements of blues, jazz, and funk, has earned them massive international recognition. In fact, Kouyate and Ngoni Ba have played at some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Roskilde Festival, and the Womad festival. Kouyate has also collaborated with some of the world’s most renowned musicians, including Damon Albarn, Robert Plant, and Taj Mahal, among others. He has also served as a mentor to a number of up-and-coming musicians and has conducted workshops in Africa, Europe, and the United States.
Kouyate’s music has earned him several awards and honors, including the BBC World Music Award in 2008, the Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros in 2012, and the Prix des Musiques du Monde in 2013. He was also invited to the White House to perform for Barack Obama in the summer of 2013.
In addition to his musical endeavors, Kouyate is also a passionate advocate for human rights, education, and sustainability. He is the founder of the Bamana Initiative, a non-profit organization that works to promote education and sustainable development in Mali. Kouyate’s music is a testament to the power of Malian culture and tradition, and his innovative and captivating sound has helped to introduce Malian music to the world. His work has been celebrated both in Mali and abroad, and his commitment to social justice and sustainable development has earned him the admiration and respect of his peers.
Segu Blue (2007)
I Speak Fula (2009)
Jama Ko (2013)
Ba Power (2015)